from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Jeffrey A.
Derby challenges the weight of the evidence to support his
convictions of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated
and eluding. AFFIRMED.
Michael K. Williams of Williams Law Office, Hinton, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
a trial to the bench, the district court found Michael Derby
guilty of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI),
third offense, and eluding or attempting to elude a pursuing
law enforcement vehicle while intoxicated. Derby appeals,
arguing the weight of the evidence does not support the
court's guilty verdicts. Upon our review, we conclude the
district court did not abuse its discretion in finding its
guilty verdicts were supported by the greater weight of the
evidence. We therefore affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
early hours of July 18, 2015, Sioux City police officers in
an unmarked drug unit observed a truck with dark tinted
windows-owned and driven by Derby-stop for a few minutes in a
high drug traffic area and then leave. Officer Josh Tyler, on
duty that morning, was informed of the tinted-window
violation and the truck's location, and he followed the
truck in his marked squad car. Officer Tyler observed Derby
commit several moving violations. Officer Tyler activated his
lights to stop Derby's truck, and Derby fled. A
thirty-minute chase ensued, and at times Derby drove at
speeds up to ninety miles per hour. Derby ran through red
lights and drove through barricades on the wrong side of a
construction zone. He drove through an accident scene. He
drove the wrong way onto a highway bypass and proceeded
driving the wrong way on the divided highway. While driving,
Derby threw items out the truck's window. For safety
reasons, Officer Tyler discontinued his pursuit at that time.
County Deputy Sheriffs Matt Struve and Paul Betsworth picked
up the chase in their separate marked squad cars after Derby
crossed into Plymouth County, and the squad cars' cameras
recorded their pursuit. Also involved in the chase was Iowa
State Patrol Trooper David Dreasen. With Deputy Betsworth
following behind him, Deputy Struve activated his lights in
an attempt to stop Derby, but Derby continued on, again
driving at speeds up to ninety miles per hour. Because Derby
and the officers were approaching Le Mars on Highway 75, the
trooper contacted a Le Mars officer to attempt to intercept
Derby with stop sticks. Stop sticks were placed, and Derby
ran over them, deflating three of his truck's tires. But
Derby continued driving, even after his tires started
shredding and he was running on the rims. Then the rims
started disintegrating, but Derby kept going for
approximately ten more miles. He continued to throw items out
the window and to swerve. At one point, Derby stuck his leg
out the car window and made profane gestures at the officers.
truck began smoking and decelerating. When the truck slowed
to a speed of a few miles per hour, Derby jumped out of
it-while the truck was still moving-and continued on foot.
Derby was apprehended about fifty yards away. Thereafter, he
apologized to the officers and told them "he just wanted
to get away." Derby said he "didn't do anything
wrong." An officer told Derby he had driven the wrong
way on the highway, and Derby responded, "No I
wasn't. I didn't think so." Derby said he had
had a few hard lemonades. When asked if he put people's
lives in danger to avoid a drunk-driving charge, Derby told
the officers, "I didn't know if I was above the
limit or not, man. . . . I already have three OWIs. . . . I
thought I would've got away. I'm not that
was arrested and placed in Deputy Betsworth's squad car,
and the audio was recorded. In the car, Derby chastised
himself, stating, "That's the stupidest thing
I've ever done, " and "[I made a] stupid
choice." On the way to the Plymouth County Jail, Derby
said he had been drinking at a friend's house and he was
trying to get away. At the jail, Trooper Dreason invoked
implied consent "[b]ased on . . . the driving and
everything that [he] had observed, [he] believed [he] had
reasonable grounds to believe that [Derby] was operating a
vehicle and was under the influence, " but Derby refused
to submit to chemical testing.
was ultimately charged with OWI, third or subsequent offense,
and eluding or attempting to elude a pursuing law enforcement
vehicle while intoxicated. Derby waived a jury trial, and the
matter was tried to the district court. All four of the
officers testified as to their observations of Derby's
driving that morning and his interactions with them
thereafter, and all four opined Derby had been under the
influence of drugs-presumably methamphetamine-and did not
appear to have had a seizure. Also admitted into evidence was
the two deputies' squad car videos and the video from
Plymouth County Jail's OWI and booking area after Derby
the State rested and Derby's motion for acquittal was
submitted, he called his mother as a witness to explain his
history of having seizures, including one she witnessed on
July 1, 2015. She also testified Derby had a history of
having anxiety or panic attacks. Derby's mother testified
that Derby became disoriented after having a seizure and
shook "with his hands and feet, constantly moving."
After his July 1 seizure, ...